The State of Macroeconomic Forecasting

Posted: 7 Mar 2003

See all articles by Robert Fildes

Robert Fildes

Lancaster University - Management School

H.O. Stekler

George Washington University - Department of Economics


Macroeconomic forecasts are used extensively in industry and government. The historical accuracy of US and UK forecasts are examined in the light of different approaches to evaluating macroforecasts. Issues discussed include the comparative accuracy of macroeconometric models compared to their time series alternatives, whether the forecasting record has improved over time, the rationality of macroeconomic forecasts and how a forecasting service should be chosen. The role of judgement in producing the forecasts is also considered where the evidence unequivocally favors such interventions. Finally the use of macroeconomic forecasts and their effectiveness is discussed. The conclusion drawn is that researchers have paid too little attention to the issue of improving the forecasting accuracy record. Finally, areas where improvements are most likely to be found are discussed.

Keywords: Econometric models, Macroeconomic forecasting, Rationality, Forecast evaluation, Structural breaks, Cliometrics, Industry structure

JEL Classification: E37

Suggested Citation

Fildes, Robert and Stekler, H.O., The State of Macroeconomic Forecasting. Journal of Macroeconomics, Vol. 24, No. 4, November 2002. Available at SSRN:

Robert Fildes (Contact Author)

Lancaster University - Management School ( email )

Department of Management Science
Lancaster LA1 4YX
United Kingdom
(44) 1524 - 593879 (Phone)

H.O. Stekler

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

2115 G ST NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-1261 (Phone)
202-994-6147 (Fax)

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